Poetry

Recent Work

Love Poem

(for Marc)

The small slow stream,
tributary of the river that carried you
from the other side
of wherever the big god hid you
is now my sacred space; not a stone
and water place, the story of how
you flowed to me, how the knuckles
and broken bones of your life
moved you east from the flat plains and the
mountains with snow and the Pacific ocean;
the tale of you, white nomad riding the current
of the flow none of us can see, that none of us
know we ride.

Published poetry

Tomatoes

When everything has been taken
and what remains behind are miles,
paths of footprints in earth;

when most everything known
(other than what one carries
inside a mind) is not here,

when one, alone, surrounded
by loss arrives at a camp,
an expanse of tents and questions,

data is taken, items are given:
food, clothing, bedding, utensils, pots,
jerrycans for water, cans of cooking oil;

resilience and will transform emptied cans
to planters: inside those tins, just outside
a tent’s flap, soil becomes home for seeds.

Tomatoes grow,
stringy plants seem too frail
to bear the weight of their fruit:

tended, they survive,
a line, a link, a memory,
a smell, a taste, the familiar fact

of picking and cutting and cooking.
A trade; this tomato for that onion,
becomes a market, vegetables

lying on sand, on a cloth,
their cost, a cause to speak;
the words, the exchange, this is known.

Published by PoetryXHunger: https://www.poetryxhunger.com/poems-submitted-for-the-2021-world-food-day-poetry-competition/poem-by-lori-heninger

Winter Bones

Today I gathered winter bones,
  knuckles, knees, bits of brittle skin:
sloughed limbs and trunks
  oaks, maples, hickories, birch;
stacked the cart, dumped it all
  beyond the boundary of the yard,
fall of responsibility, never dawned on me
I would, in spring, aggregate remains, tend
the place I saw as clearing, but no:
  growing space dying space.

Tending the bones.

In parts of the world whole bodies
are buried, left to rot then, after mice
chisel their alphabet on a humerus,
carry away a finger joint, the rest are removed,
slid through a slot they slide then fall,
fall to crack on calcium honeycomb below,
the hollow ribs of others
unknown; skulls share stories; what else
do they have, there, in darkness,
arest, await
news of the new,
tsk change, remember
how important the familiar becomes,
recollect movement, then
describe the steps
of an intricate dance.

Published by The Dillydoun Review: https://thedillydounreview.com/issue-19/lori-heninger/